A restart of an old tradition kicks off All-American Soap Box Derby Week in Downtown Akron.
It wasn't the four-hour parade of old, but over 400 local derby champions marched in a two block parade from Canal Park to Lock Three to get things started at the noon hour on Monday. This year is the 75th annual All-American.
"We were able to showcase all 400 champions with a parade at noontime," FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby spokesman Bob Troyer tells AkronNewsNow.com. "They walked down the street, we could see people in the offices across the street look out the window and that kind of thing...and I hope some of them have come to welcome our guests in the city of Akron today."
Those over 400 racers came with a big contingent of family and friends, and from all over...like 10 year old Kaitlyn Leaver from near Peterborough, Ontario.
"My daughter's racing here in Akron to qualify for the world champion," mother Julia tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and this is our first time here and we're pretty excited to be here."
In all, 422 local champions are competing from 40 U.S. states, and internationally from Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.
Earl Woods is the grandfather of 15 year-old racer Makayla Buxton of Waynesboro, Virginia, and says an attitude change for the better got his granddaughter to Akron this year.
And Derby competition aside, he's impressed with the city.
"A wonderful place, a wonderful menu," he tells AkronNewsNow.com. "I think it's great for the kids and the family... gonna do it again, regardless."
The race itself takes place on Saturday. This year's activities are designed to keep families more involved with their young racers' preparation.
All former All-American Soap Box Derby champions have been invited back for festivities later this week. Race officials say "a few dozen" former racers have stated their intent to come back to Akron this year.